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edly be used, in all the cases con-
templated. The spiritual physi-
cian should manifest deep sympa-
thy; and that he may manirest it,
he must feel it. He should endea-
vour to put his own soul in the
soul's place of the suffering patient,
and carefully consider, also, the bo-
dily weakness of the party to be
addressed. This will give a cha-
racter to all that he says and does
-—to all his words and actions, and
to the very tones of his voice —
which will be likely to have the
most happy effect. But no part of
this tenderness is to consist in the
want of fidelity, or in endeavours
to comfort the a£Bicted on other
than ffospel grounds. Not only
does flie minister of religion incur
an awful responsibility for himself,
if he endeavours to sooth the sick
by unwarranted considerations, but,
by so doing, he will sometimes en-
tirely miss his object A well-
instnicted individual, or one whose
eyes have been opened on his lost
and miserable state as a sinner, will
see that his spiritual ^uide is « a
physician of no value," if he directs
to other ground of h(>pe and com-
fort than the riches of divine grace
—the full redemption of Christ, and
the way that is opened by him for the
extension tf mercy to the chief of

penitent and believing sinners. We
nave known a clergyman — ^who
sought to allay anxiety and fear,
by reminding the sick of a good
moral life, and a regular attend-
ance on the ordinances of the
church — told that no repetition of
his visits was desired. A man of
another spirit was sent for, and
heard with the greatest interest.

3. We confidently assert, that if
ministerial visits to the sick are
managed with discretion and ten-
derness, as well as fidelity, there is
seldom, if ever, any reason to be ap-
prehended that they will interfere
with the recovery of the patient—
and that in many cases they will es-
sential ly promote it. This position is
abundantly supported by the nume-
rous facts whicn are stated in the pre-
ceding essay, as well as by the opi-
nions there adduced, of some of the
most distinguished physicians of
our own and other countries. We
will add two or three strikins in-
stances, witnessed by ourselves.
The first was of a lady in a declin-
ing state, from pulmonary affection.
She had requested spiritual instruc-
tion and aid, but had been refused
it, under the notion that she was
only low spirited, and what is called
nervous. But although asafcetida
and opium were fully tried« neither
could quiet sleep be obtained, nor
incessant agitation and anxiety,
when awake, be prevented. At
length, to gratify her, and as a mat-
ter of experiment, a clergyman was
sent for to visit her. Her case was
found to be one of a very rational
concern., in regard to the state of
her soul — accompanied' by a ma-
nifest want of suitable instruc-
tion, direction, and encouragement
These were afforded ; and m>m the
very first visit, through the whole
of her protracted illness, no more
anodynes or antispasmodicks were
needed, either to procure sleep, or
to prevent agitation. She was calm,
patient, quiet, and resigned-— not
only more comfortable in her own
feelings, but unspeakably less trou*

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8iricturt$ on Mhdem Geology.


Uesome to her attendants than she
had been before; and thus she re-
mained till her death. The second
instance mentioned (ror we could
mention many) shall be or acutn
disease. An athletick man» in a
dan^rous ferer tending to pu-
tridtty* was found in a state of
great anxiety about his immortal
part.^ He was neither ignorant of
religious truth in general, nor of
the exigencT of his own case in
particular; but the distress of his
rnifid absorbed all regard to the
sufferings of the body. Counsel
was given him ; and in the niidst of
the prayer that followed, light, and
peace* and even joy, broke io» as
ne affirmed, on his mind. There
was manifestly an entire change in
kia aspect, as well as in bis conver-
sation i and a speedy recovery sue-
ceej^ed. A third case has been
witnessed by us, since we began to
write this article«*the case of a fe-
male in dangerous illness, whose
raind was so affected as to prevent
bodily rest, till after spiritual as-
sistance and prayer; since which
she has slept comfortably, and
hopes are entertained of her reco-
very. But instances of a similar
kind, as already hinted, might be
inultiplied indefinitely* The wri-
ter can affirm with truth, that in
the pastoral charge of one of the
laiigest congregations in the United
States, for more than the fourth
part of a century, he never knew
an instance in which bis ministe-
rial visitations of the sick were
even apprehended, so fisr as he has
known, to have been injurious, lo
a few instances he has known them
forbidden by friends and physi-
cians, and the sick kept in igno-
rance of their situation, till they
were surprised into eternity. ThA
responsibility of such friends and
libysidans, the writer would not
incur for the universe-*— He hopes
tliat every reader of this arUck
will avoid it. What excuse can be

E'ven for deprtviitt the sick of re^*
jioos aid, whan facts innumeraUa
Vol. \lh—Ck. Mv.

demonstrate that i^ may bo afibrd-
ed, not merely without injury, but
often with evident advantage to the
aim of the physician P and when, if
some bodily suffering were the eon-
sequence. It is infinitely outweigh-
ed by the hopes of benefiting a
soul, destinea to happiness or
misery inconceivable and intermi-
nable !


In our last November number wo
intimated our intention to transfer
to our pages, as soon as we should
find a eood opportunity, some re-
marks Uom tlie Christian Observer
on the subject of Modern Geolosgr
—We propose now to fulfil the in-
tention then announced* But wo
wish, previously, to make a few ob-
servations of ourown,on the general

1. We areof the opinion that the
cause of true religion will never be
promoted, but greatly injured, by
refusing to listen to the statement
of any facts in natural history or
science, under an apprehension that
they militate with divine revelation^
If the things recorded in the Biblo
have been reyesiied bv the God of
truth — tlie Creator of too world and
all things tberein-^hefr never can
be inconsistent with well ascertain*
ed facts in his works, aa they are
n^w exposed to our observatioo and
scrutiny. We all see and aubnit
the folly of Pope Urban VIIU io
endeavouring to oppose the Cofor*
nican theorv of the planetary revo-
lutions, by nia edicts and denuncia-
tions* It is sack an immediate di^
tate of common sense, that one
truth can never contradict anotheri
that he who refuses to admit apMn
matter of Dact, because h« apfiro-
hends it will contradict something
in the Bible, wili alwara gjivo the
enemies of the Bible the opportq*-
nity of claiming a trinmpb, which
tf>ey will not fail to improf^ Faets^
sriien ascertained to be snch« mast


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Strictures <m Modern Geology^


be admitted, let the cooBequences
follow as the J maj; and the friends
of the sacred Scriptares ought to
admit them with as much freedom
as the most avowed infidels; nor
have thej the smallest reason to
fear to do so^

2. It is however perfectly fair
and highly important, to examine
carefully, whether what are as*
serted to be facts are such in rea-
lit;|r* Many thino^s which infidel
writers have affirmed, and have
blazoned abroad as falsifying some-
what contained in the sacred Scrip-
tures, have eventually been found
either to have no foundation in
troth, or no hostile bearing on di-
vine revelation. Thus the infidel
Brvdone, in publishinjf; his travels,
endeavoured to invahdate the au-
thority of Moses, by endeavouring '
to show from the time required to
convert lava into vegetable mould,
that the earth is at least fourteen
thousand years old, instead of less
than six thousand. The calcula-
tion on which he reasoned was, that
it required two thousand years at
least, to convert a stratum of lava
into vegetable mould, and that as
seven distinct lavas had been dis-
covered, one under the other, and
each covered with a bed of rich
earth, the conclusion was irresisti-
ble, that the earth must have b^en
formed more than fourteen thou-
sand years ago. This led to in-
quiry and investigation : when, be-
hold, it was prov^ beyond contro-
versy, that seven different lavas,
with interjacent strata of vegetable
mould, had been actually formed in
somewhat less than fourteen hun-
dred rears ; demonstrating that lava
may be covered with a productive
soil in about tv^o hundred and fifty
years, instead of requiring two
thousand for the purpose. See the
close of Watson's Apolc^^ for
Christianity, addressed to Gibbon.
Another supposed demonstration
that the eartn is man^ thousand
years older than we believe it to be
from the account of Moses, was

taken from certain signs of the Zo-
diack, figured on the ceiling of an
inner apartment of a dilapidated
edifice at Dendera, near the banks
of the Nile— *-E^pt being the fa-
vourite field of infidel enterprise.
Volney, in a note appended to his
''Ruins," considers this as settling
the point that the world is more
than sixteen thousand years old.
But alas ! it has since been shown,
that these signs were not intended
to form a zodiack at all, but were
probably the Horoscopes of indivi-
duals, at a time when astrology waa
in repute ; and that the very edifice
in which they are found, cannot be
of more ancient date than the time
of the Ptolemies. Two or three
other infidel objections, founded on
alleged facts of somewhat a similar
character, have been completely
falsified, or shown to have no |i08-
tile bearing on the Mosaick r^ords,
as may be seen in our number for
November last. For ourselves, we
have ceased to credit the allega-
tions of infidel writers relative to
subjects of antiquity and natural
science, till we find them confirm-
ed, or admitted, by other writers.
They have been so often detected
in making rash assertions and hasty
conclusions, that we consider it
more than an equal chance, that
any new statement that impugns^
or seems to impugn, divine revela-
tion, is at least materially incor-
rect. But what we urge is, that a
careful inquiry and examination
should always be made, in order to
ascertain whether alleged facts are
really such— -When clearly ascer-
tained, let them, we repeat, be ad-
mitted freely.

3. When indisputable facts seem
to militate with the truth of sacred
Scripture, they ought to give no
alarm to the believer in divine re-
velation. The evidence of the
truth of the Bible, which is the evi-
dence of testimony, is as strong and
as satisfactory as any testimony we
can receive in re^rd to the exist-
ence of facts which have recently

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Strict'ures an Msiem C^eology.


taken pltce— perhaps it is eren
stron^r. The truth of Uo\j
Scriptore, therefore, stands on its
own iropregnable foundation. What
then, although unquestionable facts
seem to oppose some biblical troth?
We ought to believe that thej onl^
mem to do so. The apparently mi-
litating truths are unquestionably
consistent with each other, although,
for the present, we cannot tell how
to reconcile them. Let it be re-
membered, that it is not merely in
Mgard to this subject, that what we
here demand is required. It not
HDfrequentlj happens, in natural
science itself, that phenomena ap-
parently inconsistent and contra-
dictory appear. And what do the
teachers of that science say in such
cases P They say that there is either
a mistake, in taking both these
things for facts, or else that the man-
eoTcred. Accordingly they re-ex-
amine the phenomena. Sometimes
they discover that one thing which
they took for a fact, was not so in
reality; and here the embarrass-
ment ends. In other instances,
they are obliged to admit, and do
admit, that facts really exist, which,
although there can be do question
that they are reconcileable, yet for
the present it is not known now it
is to be done. Now, all we ask is
exactly this. If some facts in na-
ture seem to contravene those of
revelation, admit the facts on both
sides. Say you know they are re-
concileable, but for the present you
cannot tell how. This is strictly
philosifphical. And in the case we
consider there is the more reason
to take this course, because in nu-
merous instances facts which ap-
peared to militate with Bible truths,
nave actually been discovered not
to contravene those truths, but to
confirm them. A remarkable in-
stance of this is given in our No-
vember number, to which we have
already referred. From what has
' actualnr taken place, therefore, in-
dopendentiy of any other consider-

ation, the presumption is of the
strongest kind, that any thing in
natural science, or in historical re-
cords, that seems to contradict the
Scriptures, will eventually be shown
to have no bearing whatsoever of
that character.' Hence we must,
for ourselves, entirely disapprove of
such an attempt as that of the justly
celebrated Mr. Faber, who endea-
vours to interpret the Mosaick ac-
count of creation, in such manner as
to extend the six days, mentioned in
the sacred record, to we know not
how many ages, in order to gain time
enough tor the fossil formations of

4. It should be remembered that
the science of geology is yet in its
infancy. There has not yet been
time sufficient to examine the ac-
tual bearing of facts discovered.
The depth to which the earth has
been, or probably ever will be ex-
plored, is less in proportion to its
whole diameter, than the thickness
of an egg shell to the diameter of
the egg. Nor are there yet any
sufficient and well ascertained data,
on which to form rational analogies,
from what is known to what is un-
known. In our first volume, we
gave a general view of Penn's re-
marks on the subject of formations,
which geologists in general suppose
must, in all eates, have taken place
> gradually. We believe with Mr.
Penn, that there is no just founda-
tion for this supposition at all. Be-
cause we observe that certain kinds
of stone and rock may be formed
fFraduallj^,and in fact are constantly
forming in this manner, is that a
proof Uiat all those kinds of stone'
and rock were formed in this man-
ner? We think not— We think it
far more rational to believe, that
the Almighty Creator formed some
rocks when he created the world ;
and that then he also formed those
several substances which, by union
and induration, will still produce
rocks. As Mr. Penn remarks, we
might as well say that no animals
were ereated originally in a perfect

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Striebtira m Modem QtoU^.


state, beeauM thejr mw always ar-
rive at perfection id a Terj gradual
manner, as that no rocks were cre-
ated perfect, because they are now
gradually formed. These fancies
of geologists make us think of the
old puzzle, whether the ecg was be*
fbre the bird, or the bird^fbre the
f^; since there can be no egg
without a bird, and no bird without
an egg. Moses assures us, that as
to animals and vegetables, they
were created in perfection at first,
and with the intention that each
should afterwards propagate its
kind : and to us it seems most ra-.
tional to believe, that almost every
kind of rocks were created at first,
as beinff necessary to the existence
of the globe in its succeeding state;
and that the after formations afibrd
no evidence whatever that such was
not the fact.

5. We now come to the work of
Mr. Oeorge Buog. He, it appears,
published a book, entitled ** Scrip-
laral Geology,'' in reply to the Oeo-
lo^y of Professor Buckland, Mr.
Bird Sumner, Mr. Faber, and others
whom he names. On this work of
Mr.Bugg,two writers in the Chris-
tian Observer, the one taking for his
signature CufitaMgtensts, and the
other Oxoniensts Met, offered a
number of remarks, not favourable
to Mr. B.'8 theory. To these he re-
plied in the same periodical, in se- *
veral papers of considerable length.
The scope of his essays is to show,
that the modern Geology, as taught
and defended bv the gentlemen
named above, and others who adopt
their theory, is both unscriptural
and ttnphilosophical>«-not only ina-
dequate to account for the pheno-
mena, but in some respects self-
contradictory. At the same time,
he insists that the general deluge,
of which we have an account in the
book of Genesis, will far better ac-
count for the fossil strata, and other
appearances, of which modern geo-
logy sa^s so much, than any theory
which its favourers have been able
to set forth* We acknowledge oor-

selves fully.satisfied that Mr. Busg
has the best of the argument. We
did intend to give extracts from se-
veral of his papers; but on lookinc
them over with this vieM', we found
that we must either mutilate and do
injustice to his arguments by our
abridgment, or occupy more of our
scanty pages witl^ this subject, than
.we think would be agreeable or pro-
fitable to our readers. We have
therefore determined to give no
more than his concluding summary.
Those who wish to see the detail of
his statements and reasoning, must
have recourse to the Christian Ob-
server, or to his volume on the same
subject— the latter of which we have
not seen. Mr. Bugg's last essay con-
cludes in the following manner:

« Withoutanticipatingfurtherob-
jections, I will recapitulate a few
matters respecting modem geology,
and *' scriptural geologv." The
reader may then be fairly left to
his own reflections respecting this

I. Modern Geology.

In all fairness, I trust, it cannot
be denied that I have proved the ut-
ter incompetency of the modem
geological theory.

1. As to its evidence: That it is
wholly assumed; that even the evi-
dence alleged is derived very fre-
quently from ima^nation, and not
from knowledge or information ; that
the testimony of facts, adduced
by themselves, is positively against

* In addition to the evidence which is
adduced in my *< Scriptural Geology"
upon this point, I may be allowed to re-
fer to the testimony of more recent dia-
coveries. In the Christian Obaenrer for
March last (p. 201), is the following^ his-
torical anecdote :-~** Some impresnonf
have been discovered in a red sand stone
quarry in Dumfriesshire, which Dr. Buck-
land thinks are the footsteps of antecfi-
luvian quadrupeds, which had traversed
the rock while in a soft state." May I
express a wish that Dr. Buckland would
explain how he supposes such '* footsteps"
could have occurred, and especially how
ittch a fkct can consist with the modem
geological theory? When does Profeisor

Digitized by



Btridures an Modem Geology.


2. That this theorjt supported by
BO evidence, affects the veritj of
■o small part of Divine Revelationi
with which it never has been, and,
as it appears to me» never can be
reconciled; that the Scripture his-
tory of creation, and in no small
degree even the history of the de<
luge, is nullified by it.

S. That the physical formation
of the strata is, according to this
theory, impossible in fact; and in-
volves the most manifest ii»consis*>
tencies, absurdities, and repeated
miracles, as well as numerous new

4. That there is nothing in na-
ture, known or recorded, which
bears the least available analogy
to the operations and revolutions
comprised in the theory of modern

5. That Dr. Buckland's theory of
the caves, and of the denudations,
is built upon the same foundation as
the general theory of Baron Cuvier,
and 18 as demonstrably erroneous.

II. Scriptural Geology.

1. The Scriptures are positive as

Buckland iroagine that the ^red nnd
stone" was found in **a soft state?"
Immediatelj upon its original formation,
or that it became so at some subsequent
period ? If at a subsequent period, why
might it not occur after, as well as be-
fore the deluge ? Are there any forma-
tions lying above this sand stone in the
quarry, which forbid tlie supposition?
Then how will such fact consist with the
modern theory f What (in geological lan-
guage), what red sand stone is this ? The
'* old red sand stone?" Then, according
to Baron Cuvier's scale, it is twelve for-
mations, (and, if it be the ''new red sand
stone," it is, according to the same au-
thority^, six formations,) beneath the ** Paris
formation," in which the "earliest** de-
posits of '* quadrupeds," agreeably to the
modem theory, are ever found! But if
the "footsteps" be found there, why
might not the foot which made those
steps have been tliere ? W^th such facts
tliis geological theory cannot sUnd. The
"human skeleton" of Guadaloupe, im-
bedded in hard, compact, limestone rock,
is a demonstration which never has been,
and is never likely to be, got over by mo-
dern geologists.

to the earth's surface being ** brcken
op" at the deluge*

%, It is obvious that such an erup-
tion must have caused immense
masses of debrisi [robbish,3 and
might produce all sorts of mixtures,
such as we find in the strata, both of
the vegetable' and animal creation.

3. That such debris and such
mixtures might be 8ubse[)ttentlT
hardened into strata, comprising all
the variety of formations which we
now contemplate.'

4. That the operations of the de-
luge had a natural tendency to pro-
duce the effects in question, and
that they were sufficient for all the
effects which geology has developed.

5. That it is the province of Re-
velation to inform us of the ** be-
ginning" of nature; and of the
ground, the reason, and the mode of
such changes therein as are super-

6. That the scriptural history of
the deluge affords a moral and ra-
tional cause for that catastrophe,
while all the revelations of moaern
geology find mo oausb, either moral
or physical, for their production.

7. That the deluge of Noah is
therefore rationally conceived to be
the only true, sufficient, and sole
cause of all the "fossil strata,"
which so much puzzle and confound
our modern geologists.

In concluding the above very
brief and imperfect summary of this
discussion, I have no hesitation in
saying, that the scriptaral history,
respecting the deluge, and the ideas
consequently suggested thereby, re-
lative to the formation of the fossil
strata^ are rational, philosophical,
and adequate; while the whole
theory of modern geology implies
what IS antiscriptural, unphilosophi-
cal, and absurd.

If modern geologists think my
arguments and conclusions to be
erroneous, let them come honour-
ably and fairly before the world and
prove them to be so. I have fear-
lessly endeavoured to lay ** the axe

Digitized by



Jinecdote of Rev. Mr. EaMtbum.^^Idle Wards.


at the root'' of their whole system.
Let them pursue the same equitable
and necessary mode, if they choose
to answer "Scriptural Geology,"
and the result will show who is
right. Every writer on such a sub-
ject, ought to be able to say, in the
words. of a great man, '< Thave an
instinctive abhorrence to spend
time and argument upon non-essen-
tial and trivial points; I love to
grapple with the nucleus" of a
subject. It is certainly unworthy
the conduct of philosophers and di-
vines to do otherwise.

George Buog.
P. S. Should any persons choose
to write any thing in answer to the
above remarks, I trust they will not
be weak enough to say, as a writer
in the Oxford Herald has said, and
as I have heard it this day (and fre-
quently repeated)— namely, that I
have " mistaken the entire subject,
for that Dr. Buckland no more in-
tends to injure the Divine Record
than I do." I most request such
persons to recollect that I have not
80 mistaken the subject; nor is
there a pingle argument urged
throughout my book, that supposes
any such design in Dr. Buckland, or
in any other English geologist.


A letter from a correspondent,
who witnessed what he relates, con-
tains the following remark and
statements — ** If any further proof
of Mr. E.'s concern for the spiritual
interests of seamen were necessary,
the following might be offered.-^At
the meeting of the General Assem-
bly, previous to his death, a day of
humiliation, thanksgiving and pray*
er was appointed, and different offi-
cers of the church, who were not
members of the Assembly, were in-

Online LibraryAshbel GreenThe Christian advocate → online text (page 4 of 93)